The Official Asus Xonar Essence STX/ST music server - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 44 Old 12-13-2011, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post


amirm posts "Problem is, its performance will vary depending on what PC you plug it into." at http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...ar-Essence-STX

This would be true for a lot of sound cards. You have a crappy computer you can expect less than stellar results. Asus has always seemed to lag on proper driver support even though I would love to run with their hardware. For the longest time getting a Xonar HDAV 1.3 working was a bear.

Another site to check out is Productionforums.com I would encourage the OP to look at Pro-Audio Sound solutions if 2 channel is needed. Plenty of internal and external solutions.

I run an EMU 1212M PCIe and am really happy with it.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #32 of 44 Old 02-23-2012, 01:15 PM
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I currently play flac and wav files from my PC through my graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 460 SSC) to my Denon AVR-1912 via HDMi.

I was wondering whether purchasing a Xonar Essence STX would improve music sound quality in any way?

If so, which output do you suggest - RCA analog or coaxial digital?
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post #33 of 44 Old 02-23-2012, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by luke80 View Post

I currently play flac and wav files from my PC through my graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 460 SSC) to my Denon AVR-1912 via HDMi.

I have to wonder about doing that, but do you think the sound quality (SQ) is good by this approach?

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Originally Posted by luke80 View Post

I was wondering whether purchasing a Xonar Essence STX would improve music sound quality in any way?

If so, which output do you suggest - RCA analog or coaxial digital?

The whole PC SQ thing is very very tricky, at least in my own experience. FWIW I'm slowly building up a very large collection of high quality .flac files on my PC HDD legally ripped from CDs that I own.

I'm not doing RAID or anything like that. Just a #2 HDD that is 2GB in size that is so far maybe 1/6th filled up. As I go forward I'll start deleting stuff that I don't like and don't plan on listing to in the future.

And FWIW my Xonar Essence STX has been on the sidelines for awhile, but odds are I'll try it again - just not sure when.

With high speed internet, I've 3 fully updated PCs now, two with Win7/64 and one with WinXP/32.

I previously thought the mobo on the WinXP/32 gave poor sound (via RCA coax out to a 1st rate external DAC (Bel Canto DAC3)). But new s/w versions (mobo drivers as well as newer updates to players (foobar2000 and jriver16/17)) have reversed my opinion on the SQ of the mobo. The problem now is that while the SQ is much improved with this mobo, it has occasional ticks like playing a vinyl record.

Go figure!

The SQ is good enough (presently listening to stereo Vivaldi in the background) that I put up with the somewhat annoying ticks.

I have expensive home audio gear, but nothing out of the ordinary with the PC. This is so far what I think is valid:

1. Great stereo can be had from a PC to external speakers/preamp/amp/DAC!

2. Digital out from the PC is preferred (digital coax RCA interconnects preferred over either optical or USB, with the possible exception of very high end USB (which I've not tried)).

3. Best "low cost" (now there's a term!) digital RCA interconnects can be gotten from http://www.bluejeancable.com/store/d...udio/index.htm

They are close to as good as it gets no matter how much you spend, for both digital stereo (S/PDIF) and for analog stereo (where you need two of them).

The best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire (1694-1778)

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post #34 of 44 Old 02-23-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

I have to wonder about doing that, but do you think the sound quality (SQ) is good by this approach?

The SQ atm is pretty good IMHO, yes. The AVR is powering B&W 685s for stereo music and I like the sound. However, I'm fairly new to a) quality audio equipment and b) lossless music and so I'm wondering whether I could do better or what I have is the best I can get with the amp and speakers I have.

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Originally Posted by OtherSongs View Post

This is so far what I think is valid:

1. Great stereo can be had from a PC to external speakers/preamp/amp/DAC!

2. Digital out from the PC is preferred (digital coax RCA interconnects preferred over either optical or USB, with the possible exception of very high end USB (which I've not tried)).

3. Best "low cost" (now there's a term!) digital RCA interconnects can be gotten from [blue jeans cable].

They are close to as good as it gets no matter how much you spend, for both digital stereo (S/PDIF) and for analog stereo (where you need two of them).

I guess, if we assume that cable quality will be the same standard for either coax or RCA, it all comes down to whether the sound card or the amp will process the sound 'better'?

I was just wondering whether SQ from this sound card will be better than from my graphics card before I potentially waste £150 finding out for myself!
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post #35 of 44 Old 02-23-2012, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke80 View Post

I was just wondering whether SQ from this sound card will be better than from my graphics card before I potentially waste £150 finding out for myself!

I have not tried SQ (via HDMI?) from any of my PC video cards.

Meaning that I find it hard to believe that good SQ can be gotten through a PC's video card's HDMI connector.

Perhaps others can comment on this?

The best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire (1694-1778)

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post #36 of 44 Old 03-06-2012, 01:38 AM
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digital out whether toshlink or coax is the same thing.

The reasons to buy a better sound card for HT:

doesnt have a digital connection at all
picking up power supply or other hum, unlikely if using toshlink
ummm
everything else you posted is voodoo imo

I have 2 of the asus sonar cards - I use one for coax spdif output which one rig is lacking. The other is toshlink out do to picking up some weird interference if I use RCA outs. I would fail a test if I compared these cards with an older MB that included SPDIF toshlink or coax out of the box on Windows 7 with working drivers.

The headphone amp is much better than a stock audio card - which you arent using...rolling the DSPs is also going to be unused.

The DAC is superior to a built in DAC, however you are not using it with digital outs of any fashion.

Invest in an SSD and make the rig dead silent and fanless would be far geater bang for your buck in terms of audio imo. turn off everything in your room - surprising how much stuff adds to the noise floor of your room like HD DVR or a PC.

I like the cards fine. I dont trust USB or HDMI personally, but there is no audible difference between them all when level matched and properly connected...using the video card might get me killed in BF3 once...which is unacceptable. USB means my receiver and DAC become a one off, I have a PC, xbox 360, and PS3 all hooked so SPDIF for the PC and hdmi for the consoles seems to work best for me.

REW...most expensive freeware ever...

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post #37 of 44 Old 03-31-2012, 07:34 AM
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The Philharmonics3

interesting comment on the Philharmonics3. Awesome speakers.
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post #38 of 44 Old 04-14-2012, 08:02 AM
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I know its been a while since the last comment but i was hoping somebody could help comment on my set-up. My main HT set-up is in the same room as my PC and it includes a pair of triton 2's and a denon 3312ci - Im trying to figure out the best way to deliver my flac files to the tritons. I can stream directly from the AVR but quality doesnt seem that great... i have also tried using the RCA out of the STX into the CD input on the denon and switching it to pure direct, this does appear to sound better that just streaming from the AVR but is there something else i could be doing to get maximum quality. Would the DAC of the xonar essence stx be greater that that of the 3312 and if so is the RCA out the only way to take advantage of that?

Thanks in advance
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post #39 of 44 Old 04-14-2012, 09:06 AM
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See this recent thread that DACs. Could be a bias that is making you think that one is better than the other.

That being said, when you use the output from the Xonar to the Denon and then run Pure Direct, you are bypassing all the digital signal processing in the Denon (not just the DAC); the Xonar is only converting from digital to analog without all the extra DSP. I have a Xonar that I use the analog out in a PC 2.1 setup, and I would not doubt that there might be a little bit of difference.

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post #40 of 44 Old 04-16-2012, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbuthooked View Post

Im trying to figure out the best way to deliver my flac files to the tritons.

I myself just use optical out from my ST to my AVR. With media-monkey and a ASIO plug-in, I get bit-perfect output from any sample rate FLAC. I also sometimes use JPlay.

Keeping it digital from the sound card to the AVR avoids unnecessary DAC > ADC > DAC if you want to utilise the AVR's processing with such things as bass management or EQ and the like, as an AVR does most of these tasks in the digital domain.
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post #41 of 44 Old 04-18-2012, 07:45 AM
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^ so would delivering it via an optical cable give better quality than streaming it directly from the AVR over a wireless or wired connection?

Thanks
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post #42 of 44 Old 04-19-2012, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Newbuthooked View Post

^ so would delivering it via an optical cable give better quality than streaming it directly from the AVR over a wireless or wired connection?

Thanks

It depends. I saw some AVRs (though from few years ago), which passed signal though D/A, A/D and again D/A chain in network play mode. Generally AVR do a poor job playing network files. Computers and dedicated media players are much better in that regard.
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post #43 of 44 Old 04-19-2012, 01:03 PM
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Thanks ap1, i guess i'll just let me ears make the decision... I assume i would have to select the correct setting from the STX's software to use the SPDIF Coaxial out but is there anything else i should be aware of? I also guess i am then back to the decision to use the SPDIF coaxial out or the RCA out.

Thanks again
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post #44 of 44 Old 04-19-2012, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbuthooked View Post

Thanks ap1, i guess i'll just let me ears make the decision... I assume i would have to select the correct setting from the STX's software to use the SPDIF Coaxial out but is there anything else i should be aware of? I also guess i am then back to the decision to use the SPDIF coaxial out or the RCA out.

It's not clear to me that ap1 actually owns a Asus Xonar STX sound card.

With regard to stereo digital coax output (S/PDIF) from the card vs stereo RCA output from the card, your "let me ears make the decision" is the right way to go.

FWIW there's a ton of stuff that can (and does) make a difference in SQ when playing stereo music files (.wav or .flac or whatever) from a PC.

The best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire (1694-1778)

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